senior and junior engineers don't exist


senior and junior engineers don't exists

Interns, juniors, mids, seniors, staff, principals... These positions were invented for political reasons.

Firstly, they serve as a way to enforce a social hierarchy inside the company and teams. A principal or staff engineer does not have to justify a decision to an intern or a junior engineer on the team. Team dynamics are like cockfighting. The manager decides and acts as the leader the team follows. Seniority levels are above juniors and interns. Older people teach the young. Old planning. Men over women. "It's a Man's Man's Man's World." Sadly, this is the reality in most companies, if not all of them. Many female friends in engineering are constantly harassed by their managers because they are women. The same arguments do not happen when the engineer is male. It's sad.

What are some social constructions established in a tech work environment?

  • An intern must be willing to learn and ask questions to learn.
  • A junior engineer is someone who receives simple and easy tasks from their superiors to be completed.
  • A mid-engineer is someone who has a limited scope of action. A mid-engineer cannot have a big impact without the consent and approval of the upper levels.
  • A senior engineer is someone with "the seniority" to make decisions. But do you have ten years of experience, or one year repeated ten times?
  • Staff and principal levels are defined as people who coordinate teams and are architecture designers. Gurus and leaders to follow.

Let's forget about all the new ideas that a female engineer can bring from another field to a new team. Let's forget about how great minds can work better when they have a creative space to work. Let's forget that we are people. We are juniors or seniors. Managers or subordinates. A hierarchy that you cannot escape.

Cockfighting goes deeper than work politics; it gets deeper into human behavior.

  • Extroverts forcing one-on-one meetings with introverts to pressure them. Making the other side feel agitated and uncomfortable.
  • Aggressive managers hijacking conversations until their ideas reach the end. They will justify themselves as being active and engaging when their real intention is to assert dominance.
  • Knowledge silos. People feel threatened if they are replaceable.
  • When egos are hurt, everything is taken into personal space. It's not about making the right decision, it's about MY idea vs YOUR idea.

Please take this as an open letter. Stop talking about senior or junior engineers. Stop hierarchical harassment. Everyone is valuable. It doesn't matter how old you are, your ethnicity or race, or your gender. Stop cockfighting in meetings. It doesn't matter your background or studies; everyone on a team is at the same level. And everyone deserves respect. We are human beings, not headcounts. We are different, and it's okay to be different.